I have framed
your watercolors,
the “mother and child”
you painted
each Christmas:
Each one, a snapshot,
a moment in time,
the mother captured,
framed,
hanging onto that which
she must let go,
the infant painted,
clothed in love.

When you painted
on canvas or paper
at arm’s length,
your elbows out
asymmetrically,
you mirrored the shape
of a mother’s arms
when she cradles
an infant in her arms.

Gold leaf, carved wood,
raised floral trim,
this quiet moment,
framed, captured,
window
to a school
in love.

What bird sings
to greet me
this morning?
My feet
on cold floor,
I look out
to see
song’s source:
a faucet leaks.

Dusk is the groom
in robes of scarlet.
We save our small change
to mirror his splendor
with our homemade lamps.
Some are sardine tins,
and some, emptied cans
of evaporated milk.
Yet, with a wick and kerosene,
a small flame of blue and gold
emerges from our homemade lamps.
Sunset smells of kerosene poured
and rings with the cries of the schoolboys
who sell it.

When the sun touches the horizon
it draws a great strength.
Ruby and turquoise spill onto gray
as when a woman stooped
noiselessly
to touch the hem
of Jesus’ garment.

To be or not to be
suffused with light,
drawn into the wick—
From this vantage point
the moth reveals
there is no turning back.
At the center
of the flame
no shadows hide.

Out of dust
of earth and stars
he shaped us,
and home to dust
of earth and stars
we return.

An ocean of clouds called
today, blanketing the canyon
with purple. Clouds,
like theatrical curtains,
parted over the mesas
to reveal an aperture:
white clouds
outlined in goldfoil.

Only a few drops
reached the overhang
where we sat.
Dipping brushes
in water, we stirred
puddles of paint,
mixing our pigments to paint
flesh-toned rocks
in the canyon.

Water never quite brushed
the rock, rain never arrived,
but our brushes touched water
scattering drops on sand.

My brush
hovered
over the canvas
suspended like a hawk
scouting
hungry to explore
a country of his own.

Turn your sorrow
into something beautiful.
Accept your loss
and multiply what’s left.
Take a lesson from the gardener:
Examine the broken branch
and graft onto it
a living branch.
Then wait for the strange,
new fruit.

A quiet, still life:
the sandstone squares itself
in the face of rain, storm and wind.
After a long darkness,
a small hollow gives way,
yields to rain showers and windstorms.
The arches and windows
of sandstone cliffs
are not easily won.